About eBay's Global Shipping Program and customs declarations

What is eBay's Global Shipping Program ?
(and how to fill the customs declaration yourself)

It is very easy to sell internationally on eBay using the Global Shipping program (GSP). Basically, the staff in eBay's GSP's shipping centre takes care of all the paperwork for you and determines the custom fees, if any, the buyer will have to pay.

The main form you have to fill when selling internationally is the CN22 form, which is distributed for free in (probably all) UK's post office branches. 

This is what it looks like:

You start by indicating if the parcel contains a gift (option to choose only if you are an individual sending a present to a relative or friend), some documents (paper), a commercial sample (the term "sample" is a bit confusing, but this is the option you must choose if you are a seller), or something else. 

Then you describe each item included in the parcel, and indicate its weight and value.

You then have to fill the last line:

The Total Weight must be the weight of the parcel, and not the addition of the weights of all the items or, if you have only one item, the same weight mentioned above. Your cardboard box can also be heavy, so this is why you need to include it in the total weight.

Don't include the postage price in the total value.

The country of origin refers to where the item was made, not where it comes from. So a vintage plate made in Spain has its country of origin in Spain, even if the seller is based in the UK.

HS tariff number is a code used by customs authorities to describe all items according to their nature. The form says “if known”, but it is always best to write it down as it speeds up the controls at customs.

First of all, let's point out that sellers based in European Union do not have this paperwork to fill if their buyer is also situated in European Union.

Now, imagine your buyer is in the USA. You need to find the code corresponding to your item.

The appropriate code for your article can be found in the Trade Tariffs published by your country's custom authorities. I think the codes are international, so they won't be different from one country to another.

UK sellers, please refer to this link.


Your buyer is in the USA, and you are selling a vintage Tupperware bowl to him/her. Concerning the codes, whether an item is vintage or not does not make any difference for the custom authorities, and you will not find in the trade tariffs a section called “Tupperware bowl” either.

  • Browse the Trade Tariffs. First, you will choose the section 7: “Plastics and article thereof: rubber and articles thereof”. Click on that section.

  • Then you will have to choose between plastic and rubber. Choose plastic.
  • Now it becomes a bit more complicated, as the number of choices increase. Choose section 24:

  • Next choices now appear:

Let's open both sections to see what they propose:

  • You are not selling an ironing board, so in the “Tableware and kitchenware” section, choose “other” (your bowl might not be made of melamine, and it's always best to choose “other” whenever you have a doubt, or if you can't find the exact description).

Your code is: 3924100090. This is what you need to write down on your form. 

A mistake would have been to choose section 23 instead of 24:

It looks attractive, doesn't it? Well, let's click on this one. 
Boxes, they say?

Unfortunately, you can see that when you open the choice “Boxes, cases, crates and similar articles”, it does not really describe a Tupperware box for your kitchen.

So you see, finding the right code (or at least the code that is the best one for your item) is not difficult, but it takes time, and you may not have the time.

This is why eBay's Global Shipping Program takes care of all that for you.

To use the GSP, all you need to do, after you have registered for this program on  your eBay account, is to click on the GSP option in each of your listings.

You must not forget to enter the weight and dimensions of the parcel, as this is used by the program to calculate the shipping costs in each country eligible for the program.

What happens next?

Your customer based in a foreign country buys your box. Ebay then sends you the address of your nearest shipping centre, instead of the personal address of your customer. 
Your shipping centre is based in your country of residence, and this is where you send your parcel.

That's all! eBay does all the rest for you!

Concerning the custom fees a buyer will have, or won't have, to pay, it also depends on the destination country, and the total value of your parcel.

Now, don't forget that there are some limits on the weight and dimensions of parcels you send with the Global Shipping Program. This is not explained clearly on eBay's help page concerning GSP, so I contacted them to enquire.
The main information from their answer that you have to remember, when sending a parcel with GSP, is:

In summary the exact size of your parcel should not exceed 125,000 cm³ to be eligible for the Global Shipping Programme.”

To calculate the cm3, you must multiply dimensions, and not add them, and then remove the last three zeros from your result.

So, a parcel measuring 60 cm x 50 cm x 40 cm will be alright for GSP, as the total is 120 000 (= 120 cm3, that is to say less than the 125 cm3 limit).

A parcel measuring 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm will also be alright (total 125 000 = 125 cm3).

A parcel measuring 70 cm x 20 cm x 30 cm will also be alright (total 42 000 = 42 cm3).

However, please bear in mind than no dimension above 120 cm is accepted for the GSP.

So, a parcel measuring 120 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm will be accepted as the result is 108 000 (= 108 cm3), 
but a parcel measuring 125 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm will be refused, although the total is only 50 000 (= 50 cm3).

This is why it is very important to estimate properly your parcel's dimensions (in case your item is not already packed and you know the exact dimensions of your parcel) before choosing to send with Global Shipping Program.

Concerning the weight, the limit is 30 kg.

To know more about the Global Shipping Program (eligible countries, protection, prohibited and restricted items etc) please refer to this link.